In some ways it seems longer than that. Facebook has filled my desire to "share" things worth sharing. I don't necessarily like that though. I don't take the time to flesh out my thoughts on topics the way I used to here. But, then again, I haven't really wrote an "opinion" piece in quite some time - even on here. The last time I shared my personal thoughts was August 10th, 2010.
Lately a lot of my "learning experience" have centered around Bridget, and watching her interact with a world that is full of new and different. The concept of our depravity is starkly apparent in a developing child. She wants what she wants when she wants it, and if she doesn't get it soon enough she will continue to make things difficult as she expresses her displeasure.
My first reaction is "where does this come from?", but I know where it comes from. Ephesians 2:3 says "among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
Already, at 6+ months old, she is expressing her desire to control her world - to be master of her reality - to dictate as she sees best. And do you know why it's so hard to be patient, loving, and graceful towards her? Because my heart is bent the same way. When she wants fed NOW, my heart can get frustrated, because I want to read my magazine now. When she needs to go home and go bed, I can get frustrated because I was in the middle of a good conversation with friends. When she wants attention, I can get frustrated because I just want to eat my supper and talk to my wife about the day.
I get frustrated and annoyed because she is imposing on my will. She is dictating to me how things should go, and as her father, I have a responsibility to bend to her needs. I have a responsibility to put her first. My flesh rebels against that. I want to be sovereign in my kingdom. I want to say what we'll do and when we'll do it. My flesh is selfish and self-fulfilling.
The beautiful thing about it all is that God, in His mercy and grace, is using Bridget to show me my heart. He's using Bridget to mold and shape my thoughts and my desires. He's using Bridget to bring me to my knees before Him in a new recognition that I can't be who He calls me to be. Similar to how Bridget doesn't have the capacity as a 6 month old to be what we ask of her. Physically she could do it, but morally she doesn't have the capacity to be selfless, patient, and kind. Physically I have the capability to always respond in a Christ-like manner. I have the physically ability to be thankful for all things. I have the physical ability to show love in response to hurt. Yet I oftentimes don't respond as I should.
I need Jesus. I will never not need Jesus. I'm thankful that He is faithful to keep bringing circumstances into my life which drive me back to the cross and to the truth that my sin is taken care of. It's finished. It's covered. I'm covered. Christ has imputed His righteousness to my account. I can boldly approach the throne of Grace.
I'm so thankful that the Father of Lights saw fit to breathe this little light into my life. As He calls me to be His tool in shaping Bridget's soul, He is in turn, using Bridget to shape me more into the likeness of Christ. For that I rejoice.
Is it easy? No.
Is it always fun? No.
Is it beautiful? It doesn't always feel like it when you're in the moment, but yet it is beautiful. It's beautiful in the ways that it perfectly illustrates different aspects of the character of God. Like a cut and polished diamond as you turn it over in the light and the different points of light sparkle and shine off the different facets of the stone. God's character is perfectly displayed by His sovereign balance of justice and mercy - grace and wrath.
I'm thankful for the tools that God has used in my life to help shape and mold me.
I'm thankful that I can be confident that He will continue His work in spite of me.
May we all do well to dwell more on the sovereignty of our Master as we encounter life in all it's ups, downs, and sideways. Let's remember that He is on the stage for His glory.
I read a great article this morning titled "How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause".
I provided the link at the bottom, but before I give you the link, I want to share a few excerpts that I found exceptionally compelling. I hope they will inspire you to listen and read the entire sermon.
The great tragedy is not mainly masturbation or fornication or acting like a peeping Tom (or curious Cathy) on the internet. The tragedy is that Satan uses the guilt of these failures to strip you of every radical dream you ever had, or might have, and in its place give you a happy, safe, secure, American life of superficial pleasures until you die in your lakeside rocking chair, wrinkled and useless, leaving a big fat inheritance to your middle-aged children to confirm them in their worldliness. That’s the main tragedy.
Have you ever wondered what the next verse in Colossians 2:15 means? Right after saying that God nailed the record of our debt to the cross, Paul says, “[God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” This is a reference to the devil and all his demonic hosts. How are they disarmed? How are they defeated? Don’t they prowl around like a roaring lion today (1 Peter 5:8)?
The answer is: They have many weapons. They can do much damage. But they are disarmed of the one weapon that can damn us. The weapon of unforgiven sin. Be sure you see the connection between Colossians 2:14 and 15. In 2:14, it says God nailed the record of our debt to the cross. It’s punished. It’s finished. And in the next breath he says that God disarmed the rulers and authorities. He triumphed over them. Sure, they can beat us up. They can make us see weird things on the walls of our rooms. They can shake your house and cause lying signs and wonders. They accuse you and call you a loser, but they cannot damn you. That weapon is out of their hands. Only unforgiven sin damns. And that was nailed to the cross for everyone of you who despairs of saving yourself and trusts in Jesus.
Justification is the act by which God declares us not only forgiven because of the work of Christ, but also righteous because of the work of Christ. God requires two things for our right standing before him: 1) our sins must be punished and 2) our lives must be righteous. But we cannot bear our own punishment (Psalm 49:7-8), and we cannot provide our own righteousness. None is righteous; no, not one (Romans 3:10).
Therefore, God, out of his immeasurable love for us, provided his own Son to do both. Christ bears our punishment and performs our righteousness. And when we receive Christ as the Savior and Lord and Treasure of our lives, all of his punishment and all of his righteousness is counted as ours (Romans 4:4-6; 5:19; 5:1; 8:1; 10:4; Philippians 3:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
I hope those short excerpts inspired you to go read the rest of the sermon (or listen to it). Plus, the article has hot-links to all the scripture. It's powerful stuff, and it applies to much more than just sexual failure. It applies to any and all sin in our lives.